Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Designing a bookstore shopping cart

So, you want to design a shopping cart software for bookstore. I think, you don't have to. Today, there are a lot of e-commerce software that anybody can use to sell books on the internet. Free shopping cart software such as os commerce, and zencart can power your online bookstore.
Your are a bookstore owner not a programmer
As an owner of a bookstore, I don't want to make my life more complicated by trying to invent what somebody else has made. I prefer promoting my products to designing a new shopping cart software that requires an excellent knowledge in php or asp programming language. This is something that I cannot do.
Astore widget of Amazon.com
If you really want have an online bookstore so badly, you can sign up for an account in Amazon.com as an associate of the largest bookstore in the world. There will be a widget in your associate account called astore. You can embed it inside your blog or static website. Amazon.com has developed a cutting edge shopping cart software for the astore which you can use to make money online buy promoting it inside your blog or website. So, why do you have to invent a new wheel again?
In astore shopping cart software, you can customize its categories to adapt with the content of your website. To customize the astore, you need to sign in to your associate account in Amazon.com and click the astore tab. Inside your Amazon Associate account, you can also see the reports of the items that you have sold and the advertizing fee that you can collect from them and that will be paid by the largest online store in the world. by Charles Roring
Related article: Starting an online bookstore

How much does it cost to start a bookstore?

Starting a bookstore needs capital. If you are now planning to open a bookstore as your business, you need to make a market survey first before deciding how much you will invest for your bookselling business. From my personal experience, I opened my home based bookstore by investing 65 million rupiahs (Indonesian currency). It was in early 2007. If this amount is converted into the current exchange rate, it is approximately the same as 7,303 US dollars.
The amount of money that you will spend will be much lower if what you plan to start is an online store. You don't need bookshelves, or big show room for your online bookstore. You don't even have to order books from publishers if you open your bookstore as an associate of Amazon.com.
An associate of Amazon.com write reviews about products, not only books, that Amazon.com sell in their website. The reviews are uploaded into your own website or blog. If you use blogger, you can embed the product code of Amazon.com that you want to promote inside your blog post. When somebody buys the books, or electronic products, you will get some money from Amazon.com.
So, how much does it cost to start a bookstore? Suppose that you have a laptop and free internet connection. You don't have to spend even 1 dollar to start an online bookstore. What you need to do is set up a blog in blogger account. Write original/ content rich posts about anything that you know or you are an expert in. After that embed the products or books from Amazon.com inside your posts. You will begin to make money in no time. by Charles Roring
How much capital do you need to start a bookstore business?

Friday, August 19, 2011

online bookstore software

All online bookstore owners need POS software to run their business. In my previous posts I mentioned some open source e-commerce shopping cart that they can use to start and manage their online bookstore. Because the open source software are free, store owners only need to pay the webhosting package and install one of them for their online bookstore website.
I recommend OS Commerce and Zencart for your online business. However, if you are interested in a licensed software for security reason, you can buy VPASP. I do not want to give any comments whether licensed software is better or not because the security of transactions in online stores greatly depends on a lot of factors. Zencart or OS Commerce use mysql database system and PHP language to power the online store whereas VPASP uses ASP programming language. When dealing with customers, online bookstore that is powered by the software deals with the customers directly meaning that store owners or cashiers do not have to input each transaction data into the POS (Point of Sales) software of the store computer. All the transactions run automatically. Store owners will processed the transaction from the back office web-page of their websites.
I personally have tested both Zencart and VPASP. I prefer Zencart to VPASP because it is free and scalable. With Zencart e-commerce software, we can sell not only books from our online retail store but also music and e-books. I suggest that you install zencart or vpasp in your computer and practice using it before you can really start your own online bookstore. If you don't practice using it offline, you will not be familiar with its features or functions and as result your bookstore may not run properly when you operate it online.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wooden wall bookshelves for a bookstore

Most bookstores need wall bookshelves to display the books that they want to sell to customers. The wall bookshelves have to be in inclined positions to make the books more visible when customers look at them. I personally designed my wall bookshelves between 60 to 70 degrees. Flat wooden panels have to be nailed at the bottom of the shelves to support the books so that they will not fall. Also with the inclined position, the books that are arranged will not buckle.
Picture 1 Inclined Bookshelf
Perhaps you still don't understand my explanation, to help you understand how a set of good wall bookshelves should be manufactured, please, see the following photograph. I designed the bookshelves by myself and had it made by a furniture company in my town. So far, I think that this is one of the best bookshelves that I have ever designed. Customers can see all of the books easily when standing around one and a half meter from wall.
Picture 2. Inclined Bookshelf for Bookstore
Wooden wall bookshelves that have books on them will become very heavy. If your bookstore is located in an earthquake region, the top part of bookshelves have to be screwed or tied to the wall to prevent them from falling. We never know when an earthquake hits our town. Nailing or screwing bookshelves to the wall is a good way to ensure the safety of the customers who are walking through the aisles of the bookstore. by Charles Roring

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

University Bookstore

Students often buy books from university bookstore because they can get used books that are offered in prices that are much cheaper than the prices of new books. However, the collection of books in a university bookstore is not as many as what we can find in general bookstore in the downtown or city center. University bookstore tends to sell books that are published by the university. Today, students have a lot of options to buy books that they really need. They can contact their friends in campus who have the books that they are looking for or they can just open their laptop and connect to the internet to search for the books both in the online bookstores or online libraries.
Internet offers a lot of information that we can get for free without having to spend money. For research purposes, the information that is available in the internet has to be verified with books that are written by professors or experts in certain university. Because most of the books or research journals are too specific to be sold by general retail bookstore, they can be provided by university bookstore to students who need them. Such books or journals are usually published in small number.
When I was a university students I didn't buy books from the university bookstore because there was no such bookstore in my campus. So, I could only rely on the university and faculty libraries for the books that I need. After borrowing them, I usually went to photocopy shop to duplicate certain pages of the books for my class assignment or research projects.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bookstore ownership

If you plan to open a bookstore as your business, you need to know several schemes that are related to the ownership of the bookstore. You must know that ownership greatly affects how the bookshop will be managed. It also can make significant differences when it is time to pay taxes, deal with legal matters and to split or close the bookstore. Customers may not know whether your bookstore is owned by you or by a group of investors who work together as a corporation. In general, the ownership of a bookstore business can be categorized into several forms as follows:
Sole proprietorship
This is suitable for anybody who is planning to start running a bookstore with very limited capital. Home based bookstore owners usually choose sole proprietorship as the form of their bookshop. Their entrepreneurial spirit will prove whether their business will succeed or not. The bookstore will fully be controlled its owner. She or he will be responsible for trade and legal claims from book suppliers or distributors, banks, and single taxation from both the local and central government.
Partnership
If you and your friend(s) decide to start a bookstore, all of you will need to share the burden of providing or raising the initial capital. A bookstore that is run on the basis of partnership is simpler to form than corporation. However, it has less ability to raise capital from the public if partnership is chosen. Most often, owners of a partnership bookstore are liable for legal claims made by book publishers and customers
Corporation
Similar to other retail businesses, a retail bookstore firm that is based on corporation will be formally under the state law. As a legal entity, the bookstore corporation is separated from individuals who own the stocks of the business. Most often, stockholders choose professionals to run the bookstore.
Whether your new bookstore is a sole proprietorship, or corporation, it needs to be planned, run and managed well. Store location is an important factor if the bookstore is a brick and mortar one. If it is an online store, a reliable e-commerce shopping cart that is supported by a powerful webserver is a must. In addition, the online bookstore needs people with IT expertise who really know how to manage or operate the shopping cart software. All types of ownerships have their own advantages and disadvantages. You can choose any of them according to your financial and managerial capacity to realize your dream of running your bookselling business.
A part of the above types of bookstore ownerships that I mention above, there is still another scheme which you can choose to sell books to make money without really running or having a bookstore. Today, an online bookstore called the Amazon.com provides opportunities to anybody who wants to join the Amazon Associates program. Through this membership, anybody can sell books and other types of merchandise that Amazon.com sells through his or her blog or website. This can be a quick solution to those who are now thinking of making money from the comfort of his or her own home. by Charles Roring

Monday, July 18, 2011

How to start an online bookstore business

Starting an online bookstore is very easy to be done right now. In my previous post, I explained a little about how to sell Amazon books and other merchandise by becoming a member Amazon Associates through blogs or websites that you write. This is an affiliate marketing strategy that a lot of bloggers and web-publishers have done to make money from home. We don't need to think about where to get the books that we want to sell from many different publishers. What we need to do is writing articles that are related to our interest and put the html code of the product from Amazon from a number of widgets and Amazon Associates provide.
Online bookstore is seen as a potential way to sell books and other educational products to customers around the world. Although selling Amazon books and other merchandise is easy, beginning online store entrepreneurs often think that they can sell their own merchandise to obtain higher profit.
If this is the case, then the fastest way is to set up your own online bookstore business using web-hosting package that has Fantastico feature inside it. After buying a webhosting package one annual fee basis. You can start installing zen-cart or os-commerce shopping cart software to establish your online bookstore. It only takes less than 15 minutes to install it. However, you need more time to add contents to the online bookstore business which you have just launched. Zencart, and OS-commerce are open source shopping cart software that are used by a lot of online store owners. They are powerful because they are supported by mysql database system and php. You don't need to be an expert in php to run your online store. You only need to study how to manage your own bookstore.
If you already have got a static website, you can start selling merchandise from Amazon.com associates program. I personally use product widgets and astore. Depending on how hard you work to develop your online store, the potential amount of earnings that you can make is unlimited. Online market is huge but is also full of competition. You need to work extra harder by providing good content in your website and promote it to really attract customers. If you are persistent with your online bookstore business, I believe that one day, you will be able to make enough money from it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How can I sell books from Amazon.com bookstore

So, you are planning to have your online bookstore but you don't have enough capital to start buying books from supplies. I don't know whether you have heard this news or not but you can make money by selling books that the largest online store in the world, the Amazon.com, also sells. It is not difficult to sell Amazon's books.
First you need to sign up for an account in Amazon.com as member of Amazon Associates. When you have signed up, you will get an account where you can use your email and password to enter the Associates Central webpage. On the upper part of the page there are widgets or astore link which you can click to start choosing the products that you are interested in selling. You can choose the aStore Widget or Omakase one. If you click the Omakase widget, you will sell products that are contextual to the content of your blog or website. You need to have a blog or website to sell Amazon's books or other products through Amazon Associates program. At the bottom of the Omakasi Links webpage, you will see the html code which you have to copy and paste inside your blog.
If you don't know how to set up a website. You can start a blog from blogger.com. As part of Google, blogger.com has special cooperation with Amazon.com which helps publishers or bloggers to sell Amazon products directly from the blogger's New Post webpage form. If the Amazon Associates account has been activated in your blogger's account, you can see it next to the New Post form. You can click the link, image or link + image to start selling Amazon's products. If you still do not understand what I mean, just check the Amazon's products that I promote in this post.
Also read: Starting an online bookstore as member of Amazon Associates

How much capital to start a bookstore business

When I began running my home based Xavier bookstore, I only spent around 65 million rupiahs. According to current exchange rate it is 7,927 US dollars. This investment has paid off and I now can make between 1,200 to 1500 US dollars a month from this small business. For European and North American countries where the cost of living is high, this amount is small but for people living in Indonesia where the cost of living is relatively between 200 and 300 US dollars a month, this amount of revenue is big.
I am now expanding the home based bookshop to online bookstore. In the beginning I used Microsoft Frontpage 2003 in combination with blogging software Wordpress. Now I used a more powerful e-commerce software called zen-cart. I gave the online bookstore a different name called toko-buku-online-sapphire.com. The capital needed for starting this online bookstore was only 42 US dollars. It is very little, isn't it? The shopping cart software is free. I only need to pay the 1 year webhosting package to establish the online bookstore. This little investment was paid off in just a few days after the online bookstore was launched.
Talking about the amount of capital needed to start a bookstore, as a matter of fact, there is no standart amount. If you use your own house as the base for your business, then you will not spend a lot of money. But if you rent a show room in a strategic place in the downtown, starting up a new bookstore can cost you tens of thousands of US dollars. Most book lovers do not really look at the physical appearance of the building of a bookstore which they enter. Their interest is whether the shop has the books which they need or not. If you can provide a long list of titles, for example, for the category of agriculture, then you will be able to attract more customers. A successful bookstore is a shop that can provide the books which their customers are looking for. So, before running a bookshop in your town, make a market research about it. by Charles Roring
Also read:
How much does it cost to start a bookstore?
How to start a bookstore business without large capital

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Starting an online bookstore

Starting an online bookstore is similar to starting any other businesses. First, we have to know the basic concept of how a bookstore runs. Bookstore is a retail store. It provides books and other merchandise to customers. Store format of a bookshop is transformed into an online store that still offers books to wider customers. Because the initial capital for starting an online bookstore is smaller than the amount needed for starting a brick and mortar one, the price of books and other products will usually be cheaper. However, the total cost a customer has to pay may be higher especially if the distance for shipping the book is far. For instance, it is not effective to buy a notebook PC from an online store in Japan, if the customer can get a similar product at an electronic or bookshop in his town.
Software that is needed for starting an online bookstore

I have mentioned some e-commerce software which anybody can use to run an online store. My recommendation will be Zen-cart or OS commerce. There are a lot of e-commerce solution which store owners can download for free or buy to power their online business. The above shopping cart software use MySQl and PHP to process all of the bookselling transactions. I recommend them to new entrepreneurs because they are free and relatively easy to be operated. Although they are free, they are very powerful and expandable. A lot of online bookstores and other retail shops have used zen-cart and os-commerce to serve customers worldwide. The management of an online bookstore is not too different from the management of store format bookshop. From my personal experience in running Xavier bookstore, I see that it is even easier to run an online bookstore because the number of employees needed to run an online store is fewer than a retail store. We do not need bigger rooms filled with store employees in every shelves. Bookshelves needed by an online bookstore are not as many as the conventional physical bookshop format. I even do not have any workers for running my online toko-buku-online-sapphire.com. When a customer order a book, the whole process is handled automatically by the shopping cart software. Store owner or manager or also called admin staff only works in back office page to complete the transaction when the money has been transfered by the customer for the book that he or she orders.
Fantastico feature in a webhosting package

Most of the webhosting packages on the internet now provide fantastico to their potential customers. If you are serious in starting an online bookstore, you should consider of this feature. Fantastico has a number of shopping cart software that can be installed into the webhosting package that you have paid. You don't need to download zen-cart or os-commerce from their official webpages anymore. What you need to do is clicking the fantastico link and installing the shopping cart software for your new online bookstore.
Payment Gateway System and Shipping
Two important things that you have to know before fully running your bookshop are the payment gateway system and the shipping of your products to your customers. The easiest way is to apply for a merchant account in paypal.com. For the shipping cost, you need to check the companies in your country that handle the shipment of such products as books, cameras and other electronic goods that are usually sold by online stores. Your first choice is the national postal service. If you are in Europe, you can check whether DHL can support or online store by providing feature where customers can get a cost for the shipment of the books from your store to their houses.
Also read:
Starting an online bookstore as member of Amazon associate.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Online Bookstore

Want to have your own virtual retail store?
Online bookstore powered by open source software such as the OS commerce, ZenCart can now be set up in just one or two days. The amount of capital that the owners need to establish their online bookstores is not as big as the amount needed for opening a brick and mortar store. Today, most of the brick and mortar retail stores expand their business in the World Wide Web. If we read the success story of Amazon.com, we can see that the main products which the online store offered for the first time through the internet were books. Today, these "online bookstores" sells everything from clothes to towels and from books to movies.
Online consumers are professionals and intelectuals - study their lifestyle
If we do an indepth research into the online businesses, we can see that most of the consumers who buy things from e-commerce websites are from profesionals and people who study in universities. They are called intelectuals. The buying partern of this type of consumers will be related to their lifestyle. They read books, they use various electronic products, they wear good quality shirts and dress but not the luxurious ones and they like sports. Therefore, bookstore owners or online retail store owners need to provide merchandise that this group of intelectuals really need.
How many categories of merchandise should a beginning online store owner provide?
Because the store owners do not have to spend their capital on constructing large buildings and shelves to store their merchandise, most of the money can be spent to buy or secure the products from suppliers before they are offered to online consumers. However, if the amount of capital which the beginning store-owners have is little, they should only focus on providing small number of categories in their merchandise for instance books on agriculture and animal husbandry. If the target customers are IT professionals, they can try to sell books that are related to computer and various software applications such as Microsoft office and graphic design software such as Adobe Photoshop, Sketch up. Trying to provide all categories of merchandise with limited capital, the success of running an online bookstore will be very little.
Online Bookstore POS
The availability of open source e-commerce software which is called shopping cart greatly helps small online store owners in running and managing their businesses. Zen-cart or OS commerce can handle thousands of transactions in real time without the owners or managers interventions. However, security issues related to personal information of credit card holders are still a sensitive matter. The recent credit card data breach that customers of Sony Play Station suffer raises questions among the online consumers whether online transaction is safe or not.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Online bookstore needs bookshelves, doesn't it?

Online bookstore is a type of bookselling business that promotes certain titles of books on the internet through a website for customers who live in many different areas around the world. As someone who is now running an online bookstore, I can say clearly that online bookstore definitely needs bookshelves or shelves. The shelves are needed for safe placement of books instead of putting them on the floor. Because books have to be grouped into several different categories, a number of bookshelves are needed for that purpose. If the bookshop is purely run on an online basis, the arrangement or lay out may not be the same as the arrangement of bookshelves on brick and mortar shop floor. In online bookstore, the space for placing the merchandise can be curbed into, for instance, a 4 meter x 4 meter room.
The most important thing that an online bookstore owner has to prioritize is not how big a physical room is but how the website for selling his or her books is designed and promoted on the internet. He or she has to make the online bookstore famous.
Because most of the transactions of the bookshop occur automatically with the help of an e-commerce software such as ZenCart or VPASP, online shop owner does not need a lot of staff to supervise the visitors who are looking for books that they need to read on the bookshelves such as what we usually see in a brick and mortar retail store. In addition, starting an online bookstore is much easier than starting a brick and mortar bookstore.
A famous online bookstore can handle simultaneously hundreds of transaction in one time without the store owner has to type each title of books and the quantity of items bought by the book lovers into his or her POS software or cash register machine. In today's highly competitive bookselling market, brick and mortar store owners must go online if they are really serious in expanding their market share. I remember reading the phenomenal success story of Amazon.com owned by Jeff Bezos who started his business from a small garage. Now it is a major player not only in bookselling business but also in anything that can be sold online. Even in time when store owners worry about the development of e-books and electronic readers, Amazon.com continues to be the leader in online bookselling market by selling their Kindle that is able to store around 3,500 books in PDF file format and can be carried anywhere by the owner where ever he or she goes.
Also read: The bookshelves layout in a bookstore

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How many bookshelves does Xavier bookstore have?

Xavier bookstore that is based in Manokwari city has 4 long wall bookshelves, 7 one-face bookcases, 7 two-face bookshelves and three tables. All of them are made of wood. These furniture are used for running the brick and mortar bookshop format. In addition to this conventional bookselling business, xavier bookstore has operated an online bookshop to meet the increasing demand for books from book lovers in many islands of the country under the name toko-buku-online-sapphire.com. The walls of the Xavier bookstore are filled with paintings and drawings from local artists. For the operation of the online bookstore, actually, the number of bookshelves and tables are not as many as for brick and mortar bookshop.
If the earnings from online and brick and mortar bookstores are compared, the profit from brick and mortar one is much much higher. It is understandable because the online bookstore had just started early this year. In addition, the establishment of the online bookstore is not supported by an aggressive promotion to book lover communities on the web.
The operation of toko-buku-online-sapphire.com uses an open source e-commerce software called zencart. Although it has not given significant earnings, it greatly helps sell out our old stock of books. In my conclusion, independent bookstore owners need to see the possibilities for their shops to go online.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wooden Bookshelves for Bookstore

The following wooden bookshelf for bookstore merchandise display is a modified version of the bookcase that I had designed and shown in my previous post, Bookshelves for Bookstore. I added some shelves on both sides of the bookshelves. Because the spaces for the books are limited, only small number of books can be displayed in standing position. If the books that will be put on these shelves are small, two or three can be arranged side by side in the standing position with front covers facing the customers. If space for the aisle is too narrow, it will create what is called "bottle neck." People will not be able to walk freely along the aisles because there are other people standing between the aisles blocking their way.
Bookshelves Picture
The normal distance or space between the bookshelves is 1.5 meters. Therefore, the addition of side shelving at the bookcase must not hamper the movement of book lovers walking through the bookshelves.
The design of wooden bookshelves for bookstore is not always the same as for the library or study room. Books that are arranged on the shelves in the library do not necessarily have to be put in standing position with front covers facing the book lovers. They can be arranged in standing position with bound sides facing the readers. by Charles Roring
Also read: Wall Bookshelves for Bookstore

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bookshelves for bookstore

The bookshelves that I have just designed and shown in this post are for floor display. The books can be put on the shelves on standing position with front covers facing the readers. The height of this bookshelf is 1.45 meters but it can be expanded to 2.5 meters as the maximum height for people to reach the books on the top shelf. The way the books are displayed on the shelves in standing position with front covers facing the customers may not be efficient for space management but it can effectively increase the impulse buying. When the impulse buying is high, the profit or sales that a bookstore can make per square meter of floor size will also high. In retail business, impulse purchases can be increased through improvements on in-store displays, and store layouts. I have got six bookshelves with designs similar to the ones that are shown in this post. These bookshelves are simple and not difficult to be manufactured by furniture production companies.
Picture of Bookshelf Design 1
Because the books can be arranged on both sides of the shelves, the bookshelves are more stable for floor display. To ensure the stability of the shelves against the collision with customers while they were walking through the isles, the foundation is made slightly wider than the shelves.
Picture of Bookshelf Design 2
While designing this bookshelves using Google Sketchup 8, I choose wood as the material both for the posts and the shelves. The cross section of the shelves look hollow. If they cannot be manufactured in your town, you can ask local carpenter to make them using wood as the main material. The shelves can be of solid forms. As a matter of fact they have to be made of solid materials. I only want to show the contour of the shelves that are made slightly inclined to help customers read the front covers of the book easily. As a matter of fact, when the books are placed on the shelves that are upright relative to the books, the merchandise will not buckle. However, as a bookstore owner, you are free to choose any materials that you like for displaying your merchandise.There are many other variations for the design of bookshelves that can be used by bookstore managers in displaying their merchandise. I will design some more bookshelves in my later posts. by Charles Roring
Also read: Bookshelf Design

Monday, June 20, 2011

Paper Based Bookstore versus E-book Online Bookstore

Bookstore owners are anxious to see the rapid development of ebook reader technology that are now trying to gain significant market share in bookselling business. People who buy Kindle (from Amazon), Sony E-book reader or Kobo (from Borders) can have at least 1,000 ebooks in their reading devices.
E-books are sold in prices that are cheaper than the conventional paper based books. The ebook reading devices are offered to book lovers by electronic manufacturers and online bookstores such as the Amazon.com, and Borders.
Because more books can now be obtained for free from the internet, bookstores in developed countries such as Canada, United States, Korea, Japan, and Europe, will see reduction in sales of their conventional paper based books. Significant decrease can also be seen in magazine and newspaper categories. This challenge in bookselling business should be met by the bookstore owners through various innovative business strategies. They can begin selling ebooks and the electronic reading devices or try to widen the categories of merchandise that they want to sell. Amazon.com as the largest bookstore in the world now sells anything from books to clothes to its customers. If Amazon.com can survive and make a lot of profit in the virtual world, other bookstore owners can follow the same path too. by Charles Roring

Wall Bookshelves for a Bookstore

Every bookstore needs bookshelves to display their merchandise. A good bookshelf has to be able to display books in a certain way to attract the attention of people who are walking inside the store looking for the books that they want to buy. The following bookshelves are suitable for books and magazine. In a bookshop, the bookshelves can be installed on a wall. I designed them using Google Sketchup. The books or magazines that are placed on the shelves face one direction, i.e. the buyers. Its foundation can be eliminated during the manufacturing if the posts are nailed or screwed to the walls. This will minimize the space that the bookshelves need thus allowing more space for alleyways that are allocated for book lovers.
Bookshelf Picture 1:

All of the front covers of the books and magazines that are displayed on these bookshelves can be seen by customers when they are standing in front of the bookshelves. This design can increase the impulse buying of the customers because they can see the front covers of the product which they want to buy. I have got one in my Xavier bookstore.
Bookshelf Picture 2:

The shelves are on the inclined positions relative to the wooden posts to maximize the number of shelves that can be put together in one unit of the bookshelf. But from the customers' point of view, they can easily read or see the front covers of the books and magazines that have been put on the shelves. This bookshelf is also suitable for home interior particularly in the study room. One positive advantage of these shelves are that they prevent the books or magazines from buckling. by Charles Roring. 
Also read: Bookshelf design for bookstore.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

POS Software in Xavier Bookstore

Xavier bookstore that I am now running uses a POS or Point of Sales software that has been developed by Bamboomedia. It is a cheap POS software that is based on Microsoft Access. It is not suitable for large bookstore with more than one cash register machine. Today, most of the modern retail stores need cash register machines that are powered by POS software. For home based bookstore owner, operating a POS software can be a complicated task to do but actually it is very simple. We only need to enter the information about the books and other merchandise into the database of the POS or inventory control system regularly. POS software is very important for the successful operation of a bookstore. Without it, all the tedious job of calculating the total revenue of the day and the quantity of books on the bookshelves will eliminate all of our time. POS and Inventory control software will make the operation of our bookstore simpler, easier and more profitable.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

How to start a home bookstore

When I started running my home based Xavier bookstore for the first time, I didn't have a lot of money. All I had was an empty room. There were no books that I could sell and there were no bookshelves either. I began my bookselling business with an idea which was selling the books that the town dwellers need. Read my previous article How to Start a Bookstore Business Without Large Capital.
Having an idea of opening a bookshop was not enough. To get loan from a bank, the idea had to be presented in a business plan. To make the business plan, I had to make a survey on the categories of books which people around my house within the radius of 5 kilometers would need. The first target market was school children. The second was parents of the school children and the last ones were university students. Why school children? Because there are 5 elementary schools and 1 junior high school around my house within the radius of 300 meters. After running the bookstore for around two years, I had to revise my business plan by changing the target market from school children to university textbooks, Christian books, computer and information technology, and agriculture.
Back to the discussion of the business plan, I wrote a plan of selling books worth of 1500 US dollars a month. To my surprise, I was only able to sell books worth of 500 US dollars at the first month of my bookselling business. Now I sell books with the value of 2,000 - 2500 US dollars. To convince a bank to give us loan, we have to make a business plan that contains detailed descriptions of how the loan would be paid back to the bank.
Bookstore Business Plan
Here are items in a business plan that you have to write about:
  • Title Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Bookselling Business Description
  • Product or Service Description that is related to your bookstore
  • Organizational Data - In this page, you have to explain who does what (from sourcing the books, to selling them) and who reports to whom. Today, the use of POS software and cash register machine have simplified the processes in bookselling business. Information captured by scanner in cash register machine is processed by Point of Sale Software that automatically updates the inventory of books on the bookshelves and orders the staff in the store room to supply new books to the shelves again. POS enables bookstore owners to know in details the performance and revenue of his business. With POS and inventory control software, bookstore manager can implement better marketing and operational strategy for the development of the bookstore.
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Operations Plan
  • Financial Information
I plan to return the loan in three years. I did it. So, if you are now considering of running a home based bookstore and do not have enough capital for it, don't worry, make a market survey, write a comprehensive business plan and meet the loan officer of a bank in your town. Commit yourself fully to your bookselling business and you will succeed in making money.
Also read: Starting an Online Bookstore

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bookstore storefront appearance

Most often people enter a bookstore if it looks attractive from outside. Therefore, bookstore owners must pay special attention to the storefront appearance. From the street where the bookshop is located, the storefront must look clean and tidy. The borders around the parking lot can also be decorated with beautiful flower plants. So, it is not only the building of the bookstore that should be well painted but also the entire atmosphere outside the bookstore that needs attention to details. The glass windows need to be wiped or cleaned everyday. To clean it, just use soft wet cloth and wipe the surface that is dirty with dust. I write this because I have just cleaned the front area of my bookstore. The storefront has to be free of wastes. Bins for organic and inorganic wastes should be put near the entrance or exit door of the bookstore to help visitors put their garbage properly. The bins have to be regularly emptied.
If the bookstore is located in a mall, the shells at the glass windows need regular cleaning. In addition, the books that are placed at the front glass windows have to be regularly changed with newly published ones, or with the best seller ones. Certain titles that are closely related to the town or city where the bookstore is can be displayed at the front windows. Special lighting for the storefront can attract more attention from the passers by to enter the bookstore.
If the bookstore that you are running is an online retail operation, the homepage of the online bookshop should be simple to allow visitors to load it faster on their computer screen. The homepage of an online bookstore should not be flooded with all titles of the newly arrived books. It is better to only present a few new titles where the entire collection of books are placed in categories usually located at the left side bar. by Charles Roring
Bookstore management system

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Point of Sales

 
POS stands for Point of Sales. It is a software that is usually used by a clerk when handling purchase transactions. On the left is a complete package of POS software that has been developed for small retail businesses such as  bookstores, supermarket or mom and pop grocery stores can use it. The 15" monitor is manufactured by ACER with receipt printer from Touch Dynamic/ Epson.
Some fifty years ago, bookstore owners relied on transaction book to calculate and record all the transactions during the whole day of their business hours. Their jobs of recording business transaction were getting easier when electronic cash register was invented in 1970s. When I was a child, I saw an electronic calculator whose head was installed with rolled paper. When the calculator was used, all of the items that were added or subtracted would be printed on the paper. The calculator made the record keeping of booksales became faster and more accurate.
In 1990s, new electronic cash register machines were introduced into the retail industry. Supermarkets, department stores, restaurant and bookstores adopted them as part of business revolution in 20th century. Later these cash register machines were considered outdated due to the operation of the retail stores which demand more integration of data processing between the front office and the back office and the control of inventory of goods on the shelves.
The arrival of POS system that uses computer database and network greatly revolutionized how people run their stores and their companies as a whole. POS software now is not only used for receiving payments of goods or books but also for sending inventory information to the outlet server via LAN cables or wireless data connections. POS system today is equipped with touch screen monitor and barcode scanner that process every business transaction faster than ever before.
In global business environment like what we have to day, a company can have more than one bookstore, say one hundred outlets scattered in several different countries. To serve a vast network of chained bookstore, Point of Sale software system that is installed in every checkout terminal must perform its duty without any interuption. Such POS needs to be supported with a DBMS (Data Base Management) system that is reliable and scalable. Store managers and bookstore owners can follow every minute of their shop performance. They can make better decisions based on the amount of sales that they have achieved and the level of inventory merchandise that they still have.
All of these softwares can work if the computer servers that are used to handle the flow of information have faster processors. In case when the servers cannot perform their jobs well, the whole business system can stop and we will be going back to manual way of recording purchase transaction one by one again. by Charles Roring

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

POS System for bookstore management and transaction

Every new bookstore owner must consider using POS system for their business if they want to simplify the transaction process between a clerk in the cashier desk and customers. For a small bookstore, one stand alone pos system that is installed inside a cash register machine might be enough but for larger bookstores, the POS system will have some cash register machines to deal with buyers during a rush time and one computer server at the back office to control the inventory level. Most of the bookstores now are operated with POS systems that use DBMS softwares. The price of a POS system that is powered with Microsoft office or MySQL is not expensive. Store owners can get them easily from any computer stores or from software house companies that offer their products on the internet. POS software for small bookstore can fully be developed using Microsoft Access.
However, for online bookstores, the POS system will be different. Today, the software for running an online store can be obtained for free if store owner pays a web-hosting that is provided with Fantastico feature. Inside the Fantastico, there are a lot of software for building online stores from small size mom and pop stores to big size stores whose brances can be found in many states.
Although the e-commerce software for online bookshop is free, it takes more time for the owner to learn how to use them. E-commerce shopping cart software is the heart of POS system of online bookstore. It does not only handle each transaction that occurs online but it also automatically update the inventory or the stock of books that have been bought by online buyers. Without a POS system, a bookstore cannot run properly and can face bankruptcy. by Charles Roring
Also read: Bookstore POS cashier

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Software for Bookstore Web Sales POS

If you are now planning to run an online bookstore selling books on the internet, you will definitely need some software to do the job for you. In the e-commerce business, most of the retailers will need a dynamic website that is powered by a shopping cart software to handle all online transactions for you. The shopping cart technology usually runs under asp or php scripts that interact with access or mysql database.
Today such bookstore management software is available for free if you buy a webhosting package that provides Fantastico feature. Fantastico has got some ec-commerce solutions such as CubeCart, OS Commerce and Zen Cart. Their working principles are similar to any POS software for small bookstore that you can see in brick and mortar bookstore as well as other retail store in the downtown of your city.
Although shopping cart software has some similarities with bookstore POS cashier software used by retailers, they have some differences too. In brick and mortar bookstore, a clerk will enter the data using a barcode scanner into a cash register machine that is connected with a database server in the back office of the store.
In online bookstore, clients interact with the shopping cart software through an interface that an interface that connects them with bookstore database. All the transactions are carried out by the clients from selecting the books or other goods that he or she wants to buy to entering credit card information and address.
One the other side of the world, bookstore owner will open the back office pages through admin page to execute the transactions. He or she will check in his or her bank account whether the amount of money that is requested for the purchase of books has been received or not.
Shop lifting that is usually found in brick and mortar retail stores does not occur in online bookstore business. But attacks from hackers and credit card fraud have been the main concerns among the owners of online bookstore.
To improve the security of online transactions, most retailers rely on payment gateway companies such as paypal and verysign. These companies provide secure online transactions between customers and retailers. Through a trusted payment gateway party such as Paypal, customers can buy anything online securely and online bookstore owners can receive money in their bank account in no time. In simple words, online bookstore software will have to be linked to a payment gateway system such as PayPal and Verisign for the transfer of money. Another feature that a bookstore web sales software usually  need is a feature to calculate shipping cost. It can do the job alone or connect with the websites of DHL or UPS or post office. The calculation of shipping cost is complicated especially if the address of the customer is located abroad in places where DHL or UPS do not have their branch offices there. I often find that the shipping cost has to be calculated manually by online bookstore owners in Indonesia because their national post office company, PT POS does not provide assistance for small bookstore owners to calculate the shipping cost automatically. This is one thing that PT Pos Indonesia has to deal with if they want to improve their services to their customers who are using website to buy goods that they need but are available in other island or city. by Charles Roring. 
Also read: Operating a bookstore cash register machine

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bookstore Business Ethics

I have written articles related to bookstore business in this blog for several months now. In my previous writings, I discussed a lot of aspects about management, layout and the POS software or how to start an online bookstore. Today I want to say something about ethics. Running a bookstore, a manager or an owner must carefully decides the type of books which he or she will sell. Any books can be sold but what our readers will read will shape their minds or opinions for their whole life. The followings are the books that we MUST NOT sell if we really care about people or community where our bookstore exists:
  1. Books that encourage discrimination or hatred among people with different religious beliefs or ethnic backgrounds
  2. Books that teaches and encourage violence and terrorism
  3. Books about pornography
All bookstore owners must know that they have moral responsibility in presenting books that bring positive values to the community where they live. Books that we sell should bring hope, positive thinking, encourage entrepreneurialship, explore new science and technology for humanity, and books that are relevant to the education of children and youth. By applying such ethic principles in our business, we have given positive contribution both to our employees who work in our bookshop and to people who buy our books. by Charles Roring

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Operating a bookstore cash register

Cash register machine is a device used to handle purchase transaction. For a small bookstore, there usually is one cash register. For larger bookstore, there can be more than two or three of them. Cash register should be placed near the exit door. So that people will bring the books which they want to buy to the cashier desk and pay them. 
Purchase transaction process
  1. A cashier staff will scan the bar code or type the code of the merchandise into the computer together with the quantity of items that the customer buys. 
  2. As calculator, the cash register machine will tell both the customer and the cashier staff the total amount the customer has to pay. 
  3. When the customer pays or gives his or her money, the cashier staff will type the amount into the computer. 
  4. The computer will reply the input data with the amount of change the cashier has to pay. 
  5. After paying the change back to the customer, the next process is putting the books into a plastic bag or other packaging bag before handing it over to the buyer. This is done manually by the cashier staff.
Database Process inside the cash register machine
The information which a cashier staff enters into the cash register machine will be processed  by the computer to change the inventory of books or merchandise inside the database of the bookstore. Computer will record the number of transactions during the whole day operation of the bookstore, the remaining books or merchandise left and the number of merchandise whose quantity has been zero or out of stocks.
How the inventory data is used
Bookstore manager will check the database to make decisions that are related to the ordering of books from certain publishers whose titles are now not available anymore on the bookshelves or hold a meeting to inform the staff to make promotion if the performance of the bookstore is not really satisfied, and etc.
The database management system of a bookstore is similar to the DBMS of other retail stores. When there are mistakes in the input of data at the cash register machine or point of sales (POS) software system, the decision making process for the whole operation of the bookstore will not be accurate. So, what a store manager has to do is making sure that the staff of the cash register machine is able to perform his or her job well.  by Charles Roring
Also read:
Bookstore POS software
Bookstore POS cashier

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

POS Software for small bookstore

Today big and small bookstores use POS software system to serve their customers. If you are now running a small bookstore to serve book lovers from around your neighborhood, you should consider of buying a simple POS software system for your business if you don't have one. Many home based businesses including bookshop still do not use POS to accelerate and control their purchase and selling transactions.
With POS software, bookstore owners can manage their business well. The number of books for each title in the bookshelves, the total amount of money that the store gets in one day, and other information related to inventory control can be obtained from the computer database with high accuracy.
In addition, the book categories and sub-categories can easily be arranged and matched both for the bookshelves and for the POS database. In other words, the management of a small bookstore will be much easier if the owner uses POS software. Today the price of a POS system is not expensive. Some are even offered for free as an open source program on the internet. Most of the POS software are supported by database management system created in Microsoft Access, or MySQL.
Although the POS software uses Microsoft Access or MySQL as the database platform, when you operate POS, you don't need to master Access or MySQL. Usually, the POS software that has been installed in the computer or cash register machine has got simple interface to help you retrieve the data that you need for making business decision related to the operation of your bookstore.
The bookstore that you run may be small but it is a complicated business. The number of book titles and the quantity of the merchandise which a store manager have to order from publishers, and the percentage of the profit margin have to be determined by bookstore owner. If these tasks are done manually, at least two or three clerks should carry out the jobs. With POS software, one person can do all the jobs in faster and more efficient way.
So, modern bookstore management has to be streamlined with the use of computer. If you haven't got POS software to help you run and manage your home based bookstore, you had better buy it now or your business will not be able to compete with other bookstores. by Charles Roring
Related post: Bookstore POS software

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bookstore POS Cashier

If you run a bookstore you need to have at least one cashier machine to deal with customers who want to pay the books which they want to buy. Today, most of the bookstores whether brick and mortar or web-only retailers rely on bookstore POS software computers to do the transaction processes. Old cash machines that do not have database management capabilities are now things of the past. Sales persons who sit at the cashier desks are equipped with hand-held barcode scanning machines, and cash register machines or computers that have been installed with POS software system. With POS technology, the purchase transaction can be handled faster.
Although retail experts are now developing a shopping scheme where buyers can use wireless scanning devices to do the scanning process of the goods that they want to buy thus accelerating the buying process and reducing the number of people standing in line at a cashier counter, the deployment of such technology still faces some technical challenges. It seems that the practice of shop assistants doing the process of scanning the barcode will still dominate the brick and mortar retail format for more years to come.
For online bookstore, the transaction process is more automatic where web visitors directly interact with a bookstore's website that is powered with shopping cart software such as OS Commerce, ZenCart and VPASP. These shopping cart technologies are not expensive. They are even provided for free to anybody who has paid for an e-commerce website with a Fantastico feature.
If the brick and mortar retail bookstore is supported by POS software that is connected with central database system, the click and mortar bookstore or simply called online bookstore, is supported by e-commerce website that is connected with database (usually mySQL) that is stored in a web-server of a webhosting company. Owners of online bookstores do not need to turn on their computers to serve every customer who visits their websites at the same time. Most often, the e-commerce shopping cart software that is supported by mySQL database technology has to handle thousands of customers at the same time. For instance, Toko Buku Online Sapphire that is powered by ZenCart a free shopping cart software has to serve tens or even hundreds of web-visitors who order their preferred books simultaneously. If the transactions occur in a brick and mortal retail bookstore format, manager of the bookstore has to employ at least 10 staff with ten cashier machines to do the job. So, it is not surprising to see that bookstores around the world are now expanding their businesses into the internet. In the future, we will see more people shop online because they can do that while lying on their beds or sitting at the comfort of their couch watching their favorite TV shows. by Charles Roring

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bookstore POS Software

If you are now running a bookstore, you know that a good bookstore management software is important for your business. One of the softwares that you need to speed up the transaction process is POS software. POS stands for Point of Sale. Whether your bookstore is a small home based business or part of a large chain stores, you really need a simple yet powerful POS system. There are at least four features that a good POS software must possess to do its jobs for your bookshop:
  1. Captures information that is related to book purchase - When a customer takes some books from the shelves and bring them to cashier desk, a clerk who is handling the cash register machine or computer desktop installed with POS software system insert the product numbers (usually by scanning the barcode) of the books and then type the quantity of the books into the computer. POS software system records these information into the computer database and simultaneously do its other job as a calculator.
  2. Creates New Information - During the transaction process, the POS software creates new information such as the total amount of money which the customer has to pay. Perhaps the price of the books is 35 dollars and he or she pays it using a 50 US dollar bank note. The clerk has to enter the value of 50 into the cash register machine and the POS software will tell him that he has to pay 15 US dollars back to the buyer as change for the book purchase transaction.
  3. Conveys information - I have mentioned above that the POS software system that is running inside the cash register machine or the cashier's computer displays 15 US dollars as the amount of change that the clerk has to pay back to the customer. Such information is conveyed to the clerk (as an order entry specialist) in less than one second. At the time when he hits the enter button of the computer keyboard - after typing 50 US dollars, the POS software - as shop calculator - do its job telling him or her to pay 15 US dollars as change for the purchase. The display of such information on the computer screen as one of the ways which POS software can do to convey information. Another information can also be conveyed in printed form.
  4. Cradles the purchase transaction into the computer database - When doing its job as cash register and shop calculator for the bookstore, at the same time the POS software system stores the information of the book purchase transactions into the computer database updating the number of books (stocks) in inventory system.
At the end of the day, manager of the bookstore can check the number of books that they have sold and the amount of money which they get and the books that are out of stock or not available on the shelves. Based on that information that he retrieves from the database of the bookstore software, he is able to make business decisions such as ordering new books or make a report to the store owner of whether the performance of the bookstore is getting well or not, whether they are making profit or whether they need to offer discounts to some categories of books to boost their sales. If you plan to buy a POS software for your bookstore, make sure that it has the above four capabilities. Finally, there is one thing that you also need to know before buying the POS software for your bookstore, i.e. it has to be simple and easy to be operated. by Charles Roring
Also read: Bookstore management system

Starting an online bookstore as member of Amazon Associates

My first online bookstore was hosted in free Geocities.com
Continuing my previous discussion about how to start a bookstore without much capital, this time I want to explain how to sell books and other goods using Amazon Associates program. In my previous post, I explained how my bookstore website stored in free webhosting geocities.com got book order from someone in Riau city worth 4.5 million rupiahs. At that time I did not have any stocks of the books. When my customer send his money via bank transfer to my account, I used the money to order the books from importer in Jakarta. I ran my online bookstore from Malang city back then.
Treat your online bookstore as a real business
Based on my personal experience in selling books online, I know that internet is powerful in supporting anybody who wants to work hard to earn a living from this virtual world. Now, the opportunity of having an online store still exists even to those who do not have a lot of money to buy books and other goods as their initial stocks.
E-commerce software
Starting an online store is not difficult right now. Even the e-commerce software for your bookstore is available for free. Some of the that I know are ZenCart, and OS commerce. If you want to sell products from your town to anybody around the world through the internet you need to do the following things.
  • Purchase a domain name for your online store. It can be for example mybookstore.com 
  • Buy a webhosting package usually for 1 year
  • Install one of the e-commerce that I mentioned above. My online Toko Buku Online Sapphire is powered by the free and open source e-commerce software ZenCart. 
  • When the e-commerce software has been installed you can begin inserting the picture of books, or leather products or anything that is manufactured from your town into the website. The more products you sell with better explanation inside the website, the most likely people will buy from you.
  • You need to study the software by reading its manual book.
  • For online payment system, you need a merchant account that is powered by secure online payment system. If you are not sure what to do with this very important technical matter, I suggest that you sign up for an account in paypal so that you can receive payment for the goods that you sell easily. 
Make money selling books and other goods with Amazon Associates
In the title of this post, I mentioned Amazon Associates. This is a special program from Amazon.com - the largest online store in the world to website owners who want to monetize their website by selling books, electronic products and anything that Amazon.com has. When I mention the word selling, I don't mean that you have to find customers to buy the goods. All you need to do is add some codes from Amazon Associates into your website. The codes can be a product link, astore widget or omakase and some other programs that you need to embed into your website. When someone who is reading your article becomes interested in the products that automatically appear in your site and buys them, you will get some money from that transaction.
Because Amazon Associates website ( https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/ ) has got a lot of information for anybody who wants to participate in the program, I suggest that you visit Amazon.com to read them by yourself. by Charles Roring

How to start a bookstore business without large capital

Starting My First Online Bookstore
Starting a bookstore might be your plan this year to make money. You might have never worked in a bookstore but you are considering of entering this business. Similar to other retail store, a bookstore is simply a store that sells books. It can be a brick and mortar shop, an online bookshop or the combination of them.
When I started a book selling business several years I go, I did not have any capital at all. I was working as an English teacher when I got an idea of selling the English learning textbooks on the internet. At that time (around 2004), I did not know anything about shopping cart software such as OS Commerce or VPASP. I could design a website using Frontpage. So, I began designing an online bookstore website using Microsoft Frontpage 2002 or 2003.
Selling books to people in other cities through the internet
Because I didn't have any capital to start a bookstore, I decided to upload the website to Geocities.com whose webhosting capacity was only 15 megabytes. I didn't have stocks of books either. What I had in my hands were the textbooks from the English language institution where I was working. I had used the books quite long and know their contents well. So, I wrote some reviews about them added with the table of contents of each books and uploaded them into my "bookstore" website. To make the website more interesting, I copied the pictures of the books in their official website and used them in my bookstore website.
In less than 3 months, I received an order of English learning textbooks from Riau city worth 4.5 million rupiahs (around 505 US dollars). When I received the money through bank transfer from the buyer, I contacted the book importer in Jakarta. Most of the books were available whereas some titles had to be ordered from Singapore. So, I sent the money for the books and asked the importer to send them directly to our customer in Riau using our address as the sender. The foreign book importer agreed with my arrangement. The next shipment of the books was also sent by the importer directly to my customer using my address as the sender. Well, that's my personal story of how I run my bookstore several years ago without large stock of books in my hand.
Selling Books Through Amazon Associates Program
Today, we can sell any books that Amazon online bookstore has through our website under program called Amazon Associates. What you need to do is write an article whose content is relevant to the books that we want to sell via the article. If we use blogger account, we can insert the information about the books directly into our article. When someone buys Amazon's books through our website, we will get some revenue which is called advertisement fee. If we are member of Amazon associates, we don't need to think about bookstore management. All we need to do is write a review about a book, add Amazon code of the book in the blog or website. When visitors buy it online from through our website, we have made some money from it.
There are still other ways that you can do to start a bookstore without using large amount of capital. You can begin selling used books that you have but do not need them anymore. by Charles Roring

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